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Concern over visual impact of offshore windfarm

A Greystones councillor has raised concerns about the visual impact of proposals to locate offshore windfarms off the coast of the county.

Seven offshore windfarm projects were selected by the Government to be fast-tracked to the next stage of the process under new marine planning rules. These included an offshore wind farm proposed at the Bray and Kish banks and the two phases of the Codling wind farm off the coast between Greystones and Wicklow town.

Councillor Derek Mitchell said he welcomed the announcement that the seven projects would be fast-tracked, but was concerned about their potential visual impact. In October Innology Renewables applied for a foreshore licence in October to conduct site investigations for a proposed windfarm on the Bray and Kish banks, on a site that extends from Booterstown to Greystones.

‘The development of a large windfarm with a smaller visual effect, well out to sea, should take priority over a small one with a larger visual effect. There should be a limit to the visual effect permitted in towns.

‘In 2005 the Codling windfarm obtained a windfarm licence for 220 turbines which are 15km from the coast at the nearest point, Greystones and Kilcoole. The plan had a 25 degree angle of view from Greystones and generated 1,100 MW, possibly the largest of any proposed in Ireland. There is talk of an extension to this which may produce a combined total of 2GW, over 50 per cent of the national target of 3.5GW.

‘The Kish/Bray bank application, not yet consented, was for 145 turbines the nearest within 9 Km of the coast producing about 600MW. The displayed visual impact documents said it would have an angle of view of 62 degrees from Greystones, and probably about 90 degrees from Bray. They describe the impact as ‘adverse moderate’ on Greystones and ‘adverse major’ on the view from the Cliff Walk.’ Cllr Mitchell said.

He added that he would be objecting to the proposed offshore wind farm on the Bray bank.

‘These projects will apply under a new Marine Planning Bill and I will be objecting to the visual impact of the Bray Bank one. It is also necessary for the nearest coastal areas to benefit and the new process must include that,’ Cllr Mitchell added.